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State officials, party leaders lambaste HRW report on Rabea dispersal
Former Prime Minister Hazem al-Beblawi
 

Several state officials and politicians spoke out against a report issued by the New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) that called the brutal dispersal of the Rabea al-Adaweya sit-in one year ago a “crime against humanity.”

In a report documenting state violence following the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi, HRW concluded that the dispersal of Brotherhood sit-ins “not only constituted serious violations of international human rights law, but likely amounted to crimes against humanity.”

While the major focus of the report was on the dispersal of the Rabea al-Adaweya sit-in on August 14, HRW referred to five separate incidents of mass killing of protesters by security forces following the military-backed ouster of Morsi from power on July 3. HRW estimates that 1,150 protesters were killed throughout these incidents.

HRW called for President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to be held “individually accountable for the widespread and systematic killings of protesters during July to August 2013”

The report calls Sisi one of the “principal architects” of the July and August state violence in his capacities at the time as defense minister, general commander of the Armed Forces, chair of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) and deputy prime minister for security affairs.

Fouad Abdel Moneim Riyad, the head of a fact-finding committee appointed by the Cabinet to investigate post-June 30 violence, said the report’s accusation that the committee lacked transparency was unfounded, reported the privately owned newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm.

The committee does not reveal the names of those who testify in order to protect them, he argued, not because it is obfuscating the truth.

Most Muslim Brotherhood members asked to present their testimonies declined out of fear of arrest, Riyad continued, which pushed the committee to remove their names from its final report.

Riyad also refuted HRW’s claims that the committee failed to oblige state institutions to cooperate with the investigation. Cooperation varied from one institution to the other, Riyad asserted, adding that it was not accurate to claim that there was no cooperation with state bodies.

Galal al-Morra, the general coordinator of the Salafi Nour Party, decried HRW’s report as attempted “foreign intervention,” reported the state-owned Middle East News Agency (MENA).

The Nour Party rejects any form of direct or indirect foreign intervention into Egyptian affairs, Morra declared.

Morra added that his party calls on the Egyptian government and rights organizations to form a non-biased, more credible fact-finding committee to investigate violence committed at Rabea al-Adaweya, and to bring all responsible parties to trial.

“Reluctance to deal with this issue opens the door to everything that harms the country’s national interest,” Morra argued.

Former Prime Minister Hazem al-Beblawi, who presided over the Cabinet that ordered the brutal dispersal, also lambasted the report, calling it biased.

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